My Trip to Japan - Part 2

Read on, good people, for part 2 of my recollection from my most recent trip to Japan. In Part 1 my lovely wife and I arrived at Kansai Airport before making our way to our hotel in Osaka. 

We woke up early on the second day in preparation for what was planned to be a big day of fun and thrills at Universal Studios Japan. We made our way from our hotel to JR Namba Station, a whopping one hundred metres or so, in search of our first curry buns! Around train stations in Japan there are numerous bakeries which sell all sorts of sweet and savoury goods such as sausage buns, melon bread, red bean buns and, my favourite, curry buns. A curry bun is a fried bun filled with Japanese curry and incredibly delicious, although I expect, incredibly fattening also.

But alas, we couldn't find any bakeries that morning so continued onto Universal Studios, arriving at 9:00am. By this time there was already a massive amount of visitors, tickets purchased, waiting for the 10:00am opening time. We were surrounded by young families and an absolute onslaught of school kids. As much as this sounds nauseating, all of the kids were incredibly well behaved. I was expecting a crush when the gates open but instead, people queued orderly and filed into the park to be greeted by Woody Woodpecker in full Halloween garb.

First stop for the Geek was of course the Spider-Man ride, a pseudo-3D roller coaster, which takes you through the streets of New York which is being protected from the Sinister Six by old Web Head. This ride blew me away. The 3D was incredible! It honestly looked as though Spidey was right on the front of my carriage. The ride was a blast although slightly nauseating. Speaking of nauseating, the next ride was Back to The Future, a ride through time and space after Biff, who had stolen a spare DeLorean. I get motion sickness, I GOT motion sickness. Oh man! I was so pale and sweaty by the end of this ride, it was horrible. My wife on the other hand, loved it.

After this we saw a whole mess of Sesame Street characters getting photos with the punters. In an unspoken agreement a young Japanese couple took photos of my wife and I and in return we took photos of them. We made our way through Cookie Monster, Bert and Ernie although didn't quite make it to Elmo. He was absolutely swamped by kids and we decided that we should leave it that way.

I would love to share those photos with you but alas, we lost our little point and shoot camera and along with it, all of our fun photos! I say fun photos because they were all of the photos of us! I still have plenty of my crappy, try-hard arty photos from my DSLR but all of our fun ones and food photos are in heaven now.

For the rest of the day we wandered around, watched the Waterworld show, Terminator 2-3D show, had a quick lunch and perused the shops. I bought a Cookie Monster plush, a Spider-Man mug and magnet and we both had a charicature done by a Manga artist. I'll get a picture of this and post it later today. We ate and ate and ate throughout the day, Snoopy themed lunch boxes, Elmo melon bread and Hello Kitty chocolate churros. It's no wonder we came home a little heavier. 

After this we made our way back to Shinsaibashi for some dinner. I can't really remember what we ate that night but I do remember that we stopped at Starbucks for a break, I got a matcha (green tea) frappucino and it was awesome! After this I pretty much had one every day. The wife looked through a magazine stand and made her first purchases. A handful of fashion magazines filled with super-kawaii models, inspiration for her new haircut!

We went off to bed and woke up early the next day to head over to Osaka-Jo (Osaka Castle). I have to say, I was slightly dissappointed in the castle. It burned down some years ago and was rebuilt. The exterior and surrounds of the building are still very authentic and steeped in history although the interior is basically one big museum, complete with elevators and plasma screen TV's. I have been told that next time I should visit Himeiji-jo for a more authentic castle experience.

We headed back into town and had some shio-ramen for dinner before doing a spot of shopping. I raided UniQlo as usual and the wife just wandered in and out of shops, perusing the goods although not really buying anything. She has a habit of looking, liking, refraining from purchasing... it's a good habit for conserving spending money although I sometimes worry that she may miss out on a good holiday purchase.

Another early night before rising early for a shinkansen ride to Tokyo. Luckily on this morning we finally found a bakery and got our fill of curry buns. We arrived in Shinjuku around 5pm, unpacked and ventured out for a bite to eat before hitting the UFO machines for a spot of toy winning! This is a favourite pasttime of ours in Japan although we wouldn't dare think of playing back at home.

We made our way back to the hotel, The Shinjuku Prince, with our winnings and convenience store purchases before hitting the hay, ready for yet another big day planned!

I love the combini (convenience stores) in Japan. Unlike those in Australia they are always well stocked, reasonably priced and busy! They have everything, from hot cans of coffee to cold cans of beer, hot snacks and oden to razors and deodorant. I am especially fond of Lawson Station due to how helpful their staff were in assisting me to buy tickets for the Ghibli Museum during last years trip. Incredibly, I recognised the same chap working behind the counter this time around. I somehow don't think that this was reciprocated.

Stay tuned for the third and final part of our trip, including Nara, deer, Disneyland and karaoke!


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